golf practice tips

How to Spend Your Practice Time at the Golf Course

On a par 72 golf course, you’ll have 72 golf shots total if you want to shoot par. So let’s use the example 72 golf shots as an ideal score and let’s break that down for you by shot type so you can see percentages;

(1) Driver – most golfers will hit 14 shots per round with their driver, which makes up 20% of your golf shots

(2) Iron Play – after hitting your drives on 14 holes, you’ll likely face 14 shot attempts at the green with irons. In addition you may need to use irons on the par 3 holes and for the 2nd shots on par 5 holes. Let’s assume you hit 22 iron shots per round, making up 30% of your total shots

(3) Wedge Play – anytime you miss the green with your approach iron shots, you’ll rely on your wedges to save the day and get you close to the hole for a 1 putt finish to save par. The average golfer misses 10 greens per round on their approach shots, thus you’ll likely face 10 wedge shots to save the hole, making up 15% of your total shots.

(4) Putting – lastly, you’ll finish off the hole on the putting green. If you’re efficient and hit onto the green in regulation (Par of hole – 2 putts) every hole, then your putting will make up the remaining 36 strokes (50% of total shots) if you 2 putt every hole for par. But because you’ll likely miss 10 greens in regulation during your round, you’ll need to use the wedge 10 times for chip shots instead of 10 putts. This reduces your putts to 26 per round if you successfully 1 putt all 10 holes you had to hit chip shots, which results in 36% of your shots.

Pretty complex way to break down the game of golf, but at the end of the day the numbers don’t lie. They all are interlinked together so if your putts are really low for your round of scoring 72, it’s likely because you missed a lot of greens and had to spend more strokes on chipping, taking away from putting. Or if you hit lots of greens, then you’ll have less chip shots and more putts.

Here’s a summary for par 72 score with 8/18 Greens:

  • Drives – 20%
  • Iron Shots – 30%
  • Wedge Shots – 14%
  • Putts – 36%

Now that you see a breakdown of where the percentage of your golf shots get allocated during an ideal round of 72 par golf, you can structure your practice time accordingly.

If you have 2 hours to practice your golf game each day, break it down like this:

  • Driver shots on the range – 15 min
  • Iron shots (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW) on the range – 25 min
  • Half & 3/4 shots with wedges on the range – 15 min
  • Warm up putting from 3 feet – 5 min
  • Putts from 4 to 10 feet away – 15 min
  • Long putts from 30+ feet – 15 min
  • Chipping practice – 20 minutes
  • Up & Downs – 10 minutes

For the up & downs, I like to use one golf ball. Grab your putter and your wedge and find a challenging hole to chip to on the practice green. Then attempt to hit the one ball close and go attempt to sink the putt right after you chip so you’re simulating short game skills used out on the golf course during your round.

By mixing up your practice time, it will go fast. Set a timer on your phone to make sure you are spending the recommended amounts of time practicing each phase of your golf game.

Get as many quality reps in as you can during the allocated time. Record your stats and calculate your percentages of success vs attempted reps.

After a few weeks, the data and stats you’re tracking should show improvement but let the golf course be the final test. Head out and play 18 and see if you’ve improved!

For detailed golf practice plans with step by step practice session routines to follow, you can see our options here. We created multiple programs depending on your skill level and your goals. If you want to only focus on short game practice with your time available, then use this golf short game training plan.

golf short game practice drills